Getting the right elliptical for your body and budget!


Latest and Greatest Elliptical Models To Check Out 

cardioThe top fitness equipment brands are rolling out some exciting new models and new elliptical updates to take your fitness to the next level.  At times, these new options can be a bit overwhelming, so we have put together this guide to all of the best new options on the market.  Use this article to find the perfect elliptical to help you hit your fitness goals this season!

It’s the “Season” for Fitness

The winter months seem to be the busy season for fitness companies.  People driven indoors by cold weather are ready to take control of their weight and recommit themselves to new goals.  That is why this is the best time of the year to find killer sales on great new ellipticals.  In addition, we’ve noticed several factors that increase elliptical sales during the winter…

Gift Giving – Home fitness machines make fantastic holiday gifts for loved ones, whether they are a marathon runner or just starting out on their personal fitness journey.

Resolutions – The New Year is a great time to make fitness resolutions that will actually stick.  An in-home elliptical can help you maintain your enthusiasm through January and into the spring.

Weather – While the winter months do contain many times for joy and laughter, they also contain times of bitter coldness and foul weather.  This means you may need an indoor option if you want to make progress on your fitness goals. The idea of crushing your workout without having to venture out into a slippery mess of ice and snow is definitely appealing.

 

What New Trends Are We Seeing?

Increased Technology

ProForm Pro 12.9

iFit Live on the ProForm Pro 12.9

We are seeing a real push toward more available technology on many machines. The first place you are going to notice this is the larger displays on a lot of models.

These larger displays do serve a purpose, and many brands offer vast libraries of trainer-led workouts and even live sessions with a trainer to keep you moving. To provide additional motivation, you will also find that most models now allow you to wirelessly share your workout data to your device so you can track your progress and post on social media and fitness apps.

These technology advancements are also for the purpose of entertainment. Bluetooth speakers allow you to stream your favorite playlists and integrated tablet racks have you queuing up your Netflix when you step on your machine.

Dynamic Movement

This year we are also keeping an eye on new machines that are really the first of their kind. Exercise equipment is branching out from the standard treadmills and ellipticals that we have seen for years. New types of machines are entering the market that have your body performing a wider variety of movements and challenging you in new ways.  For instance, the Bowflex LateralX LX3 and LX5 incorporate a unique lateral motion to target more small muscles in your hips and legs.

 

New Model Highlights

Horizon 7.0 AE

Horizon 7.0 AE – Read our full review here.

This new model from Horizon is a great addition to their line-up. It’s a real step up from the entry-level machines available from Horizon, but with a price tag of only $899. The heavy flywheel, 20 incline levels and advanced Bluetooth technology are features that we have come to expect from premium models costing well over the $1000 mark. This is all in addition to Horizon’s signature Six-Star Frame design.

You aren’t going to find a giant touchscreen display on this model, but the real features on this model are going to be found in the construction and performance.  Finding these features all combined in the rock solid 194 lb. frame on the Horizon 7.0 AE is a pretty exciting prospect for anyone in the market for a new home elliptical. Read our full review here.

SMART HIIT Trainer & SMART HIIT Trainer Pro

cardiohiit-trainer_person

ProForm HIIT Trainer – *BEST BUY- Read our full review here.

The Proform HIIT Trainer & HIIT Trainer Pro have gotten an upgrade by becoming the SMART versions of their former selves. Designed to give you a high intensity workout in a shorter amount of time, the SMART HIIT Trainers utilize both vertical and horizontal motion to combine an elliptical and a stair-stepper in one machine.

This design allows you to get a serious workout with virtually no impact to reduce stress on your joints.  Both models come with a 1-year iFit Coach membership included, after which it does become a paid subscription. The SMART HIIT Trainer Pro shows one example of the upgraded technology that we mentioned, featuring a 10” HD Touchscreen to put you right in the action. Check out our full SMART HIIT Trainer and SMART HIIT Trainer Pro reviews to see if one of these models is right for you.

Bowflex LateralX LX3 and Bowflex LateralX LX5

Brand new to the market, the LateralX machines are really shaking up the way you work out. Designed to provide a different type of motion than a traditional elliptical, it aims to help you “train for real life”. The LateralX machines have your body moving in three directions, which sounds a little overwhelming, but doesn’t have to be.

Bowflex LateralX LX3

Bowflex LateralX LX3 – Read our full review here.

The LateralX machines move your body back & forth, and up & down like an elliptical, but they then add a side to side motion as well. This lateral movement will certainly have you working a wider range of muscles groups and challenging yourself to a greater degree.

In terms of technology, the LateralX machines come with 30 full-length workout videos to keep you motivated and moving. These videos also include workouts off the machine, like weight training and yoga, for days when you feel like something different. Check out our LX3 and LX5 reviews.

Bowflex Max Trainers – M6 & M8

Another machine from Bowflex that may have you rethinking a traditional elliptical is the Max Trainer. These are going to be very similar to the Proform SMART HIIT Trainers that we talked about, you can read our comparison to learn more.

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Bowflex Max Trainer M6 – Read our full review here.

This is another stair-stepper, elliptical hybrid machine that focuses on HIIT workouts. This means that you will be doing intervals of maximum exertion followed by intervals of recovery. This system gets you a more intense workout in a shorter period of time.

The new release models of the Max Trainers have some cool new technology features in the form of the Max Intelligence Platform. This platform uses the information from an initial assessment to create workouts tailored to your abilities and needs. As opposed to pre-programmed workouts, you get custom workouts every time you step on the machine. Check out our full review.

 

Don’t get overwhelmed in your search for home fitness equipment. Check out our Best Buys for some tried-and-true options that will suit every need. While you’re there, browse through our Buyer’s Guide and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed choice.


Don’t Join the 79,051 Injured Yearly by Fitness Equipment 

Elliptical Safety TipsIn 2015, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, suffered the loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg, who was killed in a tragic treadmill accident.

Accidents can and do happen, but if you prepare yourself properly you can use exercise equipment to safely get a great workout.

Whether you are new to the elliptical or consider yourself a pro, safety is extremely important. Just because you’ve used an elliptical before doesn’t mean you can get lazy in this department. Home exercise equipment is a heavy-duty piece of machinery and things can go wrong in the blink of an eye.

Home Exercise Injuries Can Happen To Anyone

While the death of a well-known public figure will obviously make the news, there are many injuries due to exercise equipment that don’t make the headlines.

In a study published in 2013, researchers used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to identify emergency department-treated injuries that occurred due to mechanical home exercise equipment between 2007 and 2011.

Their research covered a variety of injuries that are often suffered on exercise equipment, including cuts, soft tissue injury, sprains & strains, fractures, head injuries including concussions, and burns.

They found an estimated 70,302 injuries attributed to mechanical home exercise equipment! The majority of the injuries were to children (age 0-9) and adults age 45 and over.

These statistics seem to be growing as more people are using exercise equipment at the gym or at home.

According to the NEISS database, there were 316,206 exercise equipment related injuries treated in emergency rooms between 2013 and 2017! That’s an average of 79,051 each year.  This is in addition to the 26,442 injuries that required patients to be admitted for hospitalization.

Tips for Safety

FreeStride Trainer FS9i

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS9i – Read our full review here.

Even though we are aware of the bad things that can happen, that doesn’t mean you need to be afraid of using your elliptical.

We’ve put together a list of tips to keep you safe every time you hop on for a workout. Keep these tips in mind to get all of the benefits that these awesome machines have to offer.

Give yourself some space

There are two things to think about when we talk about “space” for exercise equipment: yourself and the machine.

You need to make sure that you have plenty of room to get on and off of your equipment safely. If you’re having to step over or around obstacles to get on your machine, you’ll want to do some rearranging.

You also need to make sure that there is plenty of room for the machine itself and all of its moving parts. For instance, the Freestride Trainer FS9i has moving parts that extend far in front of the machine.

Wear the right shoes

Wearing the right shoes can make all the difference. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in flip-flops right? When using your elliptical make sure that you are wearing closed toe athletic footwear.

You will want shoes that provide support and shock absorption. Also, make sure that the tread isn’t worn down, you want your shoes to grip the pedals and keep you stable.

Plan an appropriate workout

Caption: Shoes with pronation control like these ASICS stability running shoes provide additional support on the medial (inside) sole to limit the force caused by over pronation.Before you begin any exercise regimen, it is important to evaluate what you are capable of…and be honest with yourself. If you are new to working out or have an existing medical condition take is easy, you don’t need to work yourself into the ground to see results.

As Fred Water, industry expert, shared, “Start slow. Besides the potential for heart issues, you could do serious damage to the lower body joints if you overdo it the first time.” It is also always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are starting a new exercise program.

Choose the right machine for you

Not all ellipticals are the same and you need to make sure that you are choosing the machine that is right for you. This starts with simply getting on the machine, some are easier to get onto than others!

For instance, if you are older or have hip issues, you will probably prefer a front drive machine to a rear drive model. In general, front drive machines have a lower step-up height which makes getting on and off easier.

You may also want to check out the Horizon machines. They are specifically built with a 6-point system to provide an easier step up.

Choose a speed and incline that you can handle

Horizon Elite E7

Horizon Elite E7 – Read our full review here.

This is another area where you need to honestly evaluate your abilities. If you are struggling to keep up with the speed or really pushing to get up that incline, you are putting yourself at risk.

Simply take it down a notch! You will still be getting the cardio and strength benefits of your elliptical and you’ll be able to do it properly.

This is also important if you are choosing from the preset workout programs. Check out the workout and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start moving.

Keep pets and kids away

If you have small children or pets in your home, you need to make sure that they aren’t at risk while you are working out. There are lots of moving parts on an elliptical that can catch tiny fingers or knock them down.

This is also for your own safety. You can be seriously injured if you suddenly have a pet or child trying to jump or climb onto the machine while you are using it.

Pay attention

You are busy, we get it! But your elliptical needs your attention more than your phone or your TV.

Most elliptical models have a screen designed to keep you involved in your workout, and not on outside distractions. Your workout is your time to focus on your goals and progress, don’t let the outside world put that at risk.

Shut it down!

Safety isn’t just for when you are actually on the machine. When you are done, make sure the machine is complete turned off and closed away from young children. Your elliptical isn’t a jungle gym and children can be easily injured if they are climbing on the machine.

Your elliptical can be a great way to get in shape, give your heart the exercise it needs and become the best version of yourself. Next time you’re ready to hop on remember these tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Check out our list of Best Buy Ellipticals here so you can find the perfect machine for your body and budget.

Sources:

Dave Goldberg’s death highlight unseen dangers of treadmills: Faith Karimi and Samuel Burke; 2015

Emergency department-reported injuries associated with mechanical home exercise equipment in the USA: Janessa M Graves,1,2 Krithika R Iyer,1 Margaret M Willis,1,3 Beth E Ebel,1,2,3 Frederick P Rivara,1,2,3 and Monica S Vavilala1,2,4; 2013

NEISS Database Query Builder


And Other Awesome Reasons to Focus on Your Breath 

You know breathing is important, this is not big news to anyone. But did you know that the simple act of breathing can help boost your metabolism, relieve stress and burn fat?

We’ve talked about how to utilize proper breathing techniques to ensure you’re getting the most out of every breath. Now we are going to look at why you should really make sure that you’re using those techniques to reap major benefits.

A Recap of Proper Breathing Techniques

In order to get all of the bonuses of breathing when exercising, you need to remember to do it properly. This involves following the 3:2 method. Simply put, breathe in for 3 steps and out for 2 steps. If you are exercising at a higher intensity switch it up to 2:1, breathe in for 2 steps and out for one.

This ensures you are taking in the oxygen you need and expelling the carbon dioxide that you need to get out. You can learn more about how to breathe and what happens each time you do from our last article.

Now Breathe Away the Fat!

While the idea that you can breathe out fat may sound crazy, it’s actually true! A study published in the British Medical Journal investigated where the fat actually goes when you are losing weight, and found that we are breathing some of it out.

It is important to note that this applies to the stored fats in the body, known as triglycerides. Triglycerides are formed when our body stores the excess carbohydrates and protein from our diet in fat cells.

The team studied the molecular makeup of these triglycerides, which are formed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They found that when broken down they become carbon dioxide and water.

According to the team’s calculations, for every 10kg of fat that is broken down, 84% of that becomes carbon dioxide which you exhale when you breathe out.

When you are not exercising you aren’t going to be seeing major results from this, but you will when you are exercising. During exercise you are also increasing your metabolism, which means you are breaking down and breathing out fat at a much higher rate, up to 20%!

Boost Your Metabolism With Oxygen

When we talk about your metabolism, we are talking about your body’s ability to convert the nutrients in your food into energy, which can be used.

Oxygen plays a key role in your metabolism.  Basically, your body can’t make energy without it!

The process by which your body turns food into energy is called the Kreb’s Cycle. Your body uses the oxygen that you breathe to carry nutrients to the places that need it. Once there, the oxygen helps break down the nutrients into carbon dioxide and energy that your body uses.

When you are exercising, you are using a lot more energy. To produce this energy you need to be taking in more oxygen, which is when your proper breathing techniques are key.

By taking in more oxygen your body can produce energy more efficiently, so you can exercise longer to burn more calories and store less fat.

The Importance of Breathing While You Stretch

Oxygen not only plays vital roles when you are exercising, but is also an important part of your post-workout routine.

It can be so easy to rush through stretching after a workout…and end up sore the next day. If you take a little more time and incorporate proper breathing into your stretching, your muscles will thank you!

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, breathing while you stretch relaxes the body, helps reduce lactic acid buildup, and improves circulation.

With each breath you take, your body is carrying oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. This oxygenated blood helps improve the elasticity of your muscles so that you can elongate your muscles, improve flexibility and avoid muscle soreness after a workout.

To make sure that you are giving your muscles the attention they need, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t rush – Take a little time in each stretch. You don’t need to be camping out in each stretch for an extended period, but you do need to hold it for a minimum of 30 seconds. This gives your body time to circulate oxygenated blood to your muscles so that it can do its job.

Breathing while stretching – When you are stretching, especially when your muscles are tight and it hurts a little, it’s really easy to forget about your breathing. You may even realize that you are holding your breath without thinking about it.

Thankfully, there is an easy technique that will keep your breathing in the forefront of your mind and also get you the most out of your stretch. When you are in position, take a deep breath in without moving your body. When you exhale, let your body settle into the stretch. Repeat this process. Stay where you are while you inhale and then stretch a little deeper on the exhale.

Release Your Stress

workout in the morningThere are so many things every day that cause us to feel stressed, we certainly don’t need to add any more. However, did you know that improper breathing can actually increase your stress level?

Most of us do what is known as “chest breathing”, we simply don’t take the time to consciously breathe deeply. When you aren’t taking full, deep breaths you aren’t filling your lungs to their capacity. This means part of your lungs aren’t getting their share of oxygen which can lead to anxiety.

You can beat this by invoking a relaxation response using a technique developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School. It’s very simple.

Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.

Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your chest and belly rise and expand as your lungs fill completely.

Breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose (whichever is more natural) until your lungs are empty.

Repeat. Try doing this for 10 minutes, practice makes perfect!

Not only will you feel your stress loosen its grip, this will also slow your heartbeat and lower your blood pressure.

Whether you are headed to the gym, jumping on your elliptical, or just taking a quiet moment to yourself, remember your breathing. You’ll see and feel the difference in your mind and your body.

 

Sources:

When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go? Ruben Meerman, researcher, Andrew J Brown, professor; 2014

Why Is Breathing Important During Stretching? Dana Tuffelmire;

Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response: April 2018


The “How and Why” Behind LISS Cardio

Whether you are new to exercising or you’re looking to change up your normal routine, LISS cardio may be just the ticket.

Hang on… LISS?  Yes, another acronym has stormed the world of fitness.  Just like popular HIIT workouts, this new type of cardio can help you get better results.

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How to Get The Most From Every Breath

Breathing is important. You know that. But did you know your breathing can make a huge difference when you’re doing cardio?

Proper breathing can increase your performance during a workout and even help you deal with physical and mental stress.

The average person takes around 23,000 breaths per day. So why not get the most from every single inhalation?  That’s why we’ve decided to come up with these breathing tips to help you get the most from your cardio workout.

Now, let’s take a closer look…

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How 30 Minutes a Day Can Make a World of Difference

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro – Read our full review here.

We all know that cardiovascular exercise is super important. The American Heart Association tells us to get a minimum of 30 minutes per day to keep feeling young.  And doctors tell us that cardio saves lives!

But what if there’s more to the story? What if getting that cardio in each day has more benefits that you ever realized?

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What are the Risks of Exercising Outdoors in Poor Air Quality?

Exercising outdoors definitely has its perks!  Fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun can be refreshing after a day spent working inside.  However, it’s important to consider how fresh that air really is…

Are you breathing in air pollution during your run?

Since air quality can vary from day to day and between regions, here are some FAQs to make sure your outside time is helping and not hurting your fitness.

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“Age” is Just a Number: So Don’t Let It Hold You Back!

myths about age and exerciseA long list of excuses shouldn’t stop you from exercising after a certain age. Health and fitness are possible at ANY age and actually becomes more and more important as the years go by.

So, why do so many people just surrender at a certain point?

It all comes down to some long standing myths that people believe about exercise and aging.  And, we’re here to debunk those mis-beliefs!

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Don’t Let These Common Errors Stop You From Getting Your Best Workout!

common elliptical mistakesAn elliptical is a great way to get a total body in your own home. But just like any other exercise equipment, you have to make sure you’re using it properly to reap the benefits.

We’ve put together a list of common mistakes that people make on an elliptical that will not only lower the effectiveness of your workout, but can also lead to injury.

Avoiding these common blunders will ensure that you get the most out of every minute of your elliptical session.

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Avoid that Snooze Button and Give Yourself a Morning Jumpstart!

workout in the morningDespite the best of intentions, it can be hard to drag yourself out of bed when your alarm goes off so you can workout in the morning.

You hit the snooze button once…twice…three times and suddenly your morning time has been used up. Now it’s too late for a workout and you’re rushing out the door just to make it to work on time!

We have all been there…

But you don’t have to continue in that same vicious cycle.

Here are 7 energizing, clarifying, and healthy reasons to avoid the snooze button and jump onto the elliptical bright and early!

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